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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:24 PM   #1
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Apple Allowing Select Employees to Devote Time to Special Projects [Updated]




Apple is allowing a small group of employees to spend up to two weeks working on projects outside their standard job responsibilities. This was originally reported by the Wall Street Journal's Jessica Lessin, by way of Business Insider.
Quote:
It's similar to Google's 20% time, which lets employees spend 20% of their time on side projects that could end up helping Google.

Lessin cautioned it was a "far cry" from what Google does. It's limited to a small group of employees at Apple.
We don't have too many details for how the program, reportedly nicknamed "Blue Sky", works. It may allow employees to spend time on their own projects, or if they could be temporarily assigned to other working groups within Apple.

Update: Lessin's full Wall Street Journal article is now live. Lessin focuses on how the corporate culture is changing at Apple since Tim Cook took over as CEO, noting that Cook has been more accepting of sabbaticals, has praised employees at Apple's media events, and that the company is more frequently giving counteroffers to employees considering posts at other companies.
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When it comes to culture among technology companies, Apple is still an outlier. Its managers have long ignored standard Silicon Valley perks, such as free lunches, believing the opportunity to work at the company and on its popular products compelled people to stay.

Last year, in a session of Apple's internal management program Apple University, officials discussed how the company is in some ways more like the military than a traditional corporation, according to a person who was told about the presentation.

But under Chief Executive Tim Cook, who took over from co-founder Steve Jobs last year, Apple is becoming more employee-friendly.
Article Link: Apple Allowing Select Employees to Devote Time to Special Projects [Updated]
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:26 PM   #2
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I wonder if Apple will own the rights to all of these "personal projects," or if they just maintain right of first refusal.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by camnchar View Post
I wonder if Apple owns the rights to all of these "personal projects."
Of course they do. Anything done on company time belongs to the company.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:29 PM   #4
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easy to do when you probably have some of the most productive people on the planet working for you.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ECUpirate44 View Post
Of course they do. Anything done on company time belongs to the company.
At 3M if you come up with something during special project time, even utilizing 3M's facilites, they will share profit of the product with you as the creator.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by camnchar View Post
I wonder if Apple owns the rights to all of these "personal projects."
No, Apple is going to let their employees work on projects on Apple's time, with other Apple personnel, using Apple equipment, and then let them privately patent anything they create and make Apple pay them for the stuff they created.

Right!

Of course Apple owns the rights!!!
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Shrink View Post
No, Apple is going to let their employees work on projects on Apple's time, with other Apple personnel, using Apple equipment, and then let them privately patent anything they create and make Apple pay them for the stuff they created.

Right!

Of course Apple owns the rights!!!
Thats why you don't work on personal products at work, or use anything that remotely looks like something that was developed 'in the office'.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
Right now Apple has a bit of a problem with the "maps" application. Lots of the problems could be solved by hiring say 1000 people driving around in a car with high-precision GPS and fixing problems in the maps. That kind of job, not highly paid because it's not that difficult a job, will only be done by someone who looks for a nine-to-five job, where the employee wants decent hours, decent money, and go home after work to spend time with their family. "Work your employees hard" doesn't work, because you can't check whether they have done a good job in their eight hour shift except by letting someone else spending eight hours to cover exactly the same tracks.

Same with Siri; to improve it you need humans checking questions and answers and checking if the answers can be improved (because the user posed a question that Siri doesn't understand, but a human understands). You need lots of people for that, and it only works if that is done by employees who are treated well.

Not only treated well, but apple could create and entire wing in their quality control department dedicated to improvements, and I still think you will need to pay them well since they are still being asked to be better than the competition.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:14 AM   #8
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great we'll get a bunch of Beta products with crappy interfaces

why is Apple trying to copy Google ?!
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BMNB1tch View Post
great we'll get a bunch of Beta products with crappy interfaces

why is Apple trying to copy Google ?!
Yeah because Siri and Maps are so great.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 06:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by camnchar View Post
I wonder if Apple will own the rights to all of these "personal projects," or if they just maintain right of first refusal.
They're not going to make the same mistake HP made with Woz :P
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 06:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by camnchar View Post
I wonder if Apple will own the rights to all of these "personal projects," or if they just maintain right of first refusal.
They are not "personal projects" and there is absolutely nothing in the original article that refers to them as personal projects.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CausticPuppy View Post
They are not "personal projects" and there is absolutely nothing in the original article that refers to them as personal projects.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 10:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camnchar View Post
I wonder if Apple will own the rights to all of these "personal projects," or if they just maintain right of first refusal.
They do. If you do it on company time it is Apple's. supposedly when you get a job there, even at retail, you have to sign way rights to anything even tangently related to Apple that you work on even on your own time. That is if it doesn't get you fired for violating the non compet agreement you signed.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by iAco View Post
In other words, Apple is losing it's innovation, so it lets a small group of its creatives play around which they hope will strike gold for Apple.
Not at all. They have timetables etc for current projects but they are showing a willingliness to let someone spend a finite time on the clock now to sketch up something that might prove a previous notion wrong or show them a new project to work on next.

Rather than not giving them the time and having someone so passionate that they work off the clock on it.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by FourMoreYears View Post
Steve Jobs would have done this under his rule if this idea had any merit. Tim Cook, you may very well be the next Ballmer.
So Steve Jobs opinions are infallible. That's basically what you are saying. Thus if Steve thought it had no merit Tim Cook has no right to a different opinion. Or to act on his opinions despite even Steve saying Tim should.

Given the number of blogs saying Apple lost all innovative when Steve died and the stock value tanking, this might be just the thing to recover opinions.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by zbarvian View Post
Listen, I miss Jobs as much as the next guy, but this is nuts. You can't claim that this is a bad decision based on the fact that Steve never reportedly made it. .
You raise a good point. REPORTEDLY. Perhaps it's been around for a while in some form or another, started by Steve even, but is only now getting press

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by iAco View Post

There is no reason for you to allow your employees to work on side projects when you have work to assign them.
Sure there is. Too reasons actually

1. They might produce something amazing and since they were on the clock Apple owns it.

2. Morale. That can sometimes be more important than the work produced. Especially among creative types
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:32 PM   #14
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I think it was a good idea at Google and hopefully it will be a good idea at Apple. Giving creative people a bit of freedom can't be a bad thing, can it?
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:36 PM   #15
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It's certainly worked well for Google. Maybe some of the ol' Woz magic Garage Dust can be sprinkled on fertile minds to bring about some epic new ideas an products.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:36 PM   #16
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Too little too late
2009 would have been a great yar
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:38 PM   #17
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As Scott Adams (the writer of Dilbert) put in a comic... They get 20% to work on personal stuff, but they work 60 hours a week.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-12-19/
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:40 PM   #18
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I think their special project should be debugging Maps.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:42 PM   #19
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In other words, Apple is losing it's innovation, so it lets a small group of its creatives play around which they hope will strike gold for Apple.

Normal. And who wouldn't do this?

Just like Netflix publishing a public challenge with a million dollar reward because Netflix's employees were too incompetent to solve the problem.

Some professors in Isreal ended up providing Netflix the optimal algorithm to their challenge.

It's normal.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 06:44 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by aardwolf View Post
As Scott Adams (the writer of Dilbert) put in a comic... They get 20% to work on personal stuff, but they work 60 hours a week.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-12-19/
A buddy of mine interned at Google this summer (he's a CS major). He said that engineer's at Google actually don't have a determined work schedule and can work anytime a day for any period of time. But employees usually work at least 8 hours a day, most times working longer because Google treats them so well they don't want to be let go. Employees willingly work more than most people because they enjoy working at Mountain View so much
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:08 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by aardwolf View Post
As Scott Adams (the writer of Dilbert) put in a comic... They get 20% to work on personal stuff, but they work 60 hours a week.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-12-19/
I'm missing something... what's wrong with that?
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 08:44 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by teknikal90 View Post
Too little too late
Quite true, I agree completely.

Sadly those who haven't been around for a long time are unaware that this practice was begun by Apple as far back as 1993.

It was a regular part of their creative process.

Then when the iEra dawned and sales took off, they stopped the practice.

A bit short sighted I'd say.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:04 PM   #23
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Quite true, I agree completely.

Sadly those who haven't been around for a long time are unaware that this practice was begun by Apple as far back as 1993.

It was a regular part of their creative process.

Then when the iEra dawned and sales took off, they stopped the practice.

A bit short sighted I'd say.
Maybe, maybe not. It could be that the iDevice era simply resulted in too much project work to be able to afford the 20% practice.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 08:57 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by NinjaHERO View Post
I think it was a good idea at Google and hopefully it will be a good idea at Apple. Giving creative people a bit of freedom can't be a bad thing, can it?
Correct. Apple is copying Google. Oh no, time to sue.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:46 PM   #25
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Would not surprise if Jony has been working on the UI and it's much more advanced than we thought.

Don't think this 20% is new to Apple at all (just taken a while to come out/be speculated on).
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